My Blog Has Moved!

With the latest update to my website, I can now blog from there! WordPress has been good to me, but I’m excited to blog from my own platform.

If you want to keep seeing my content you have two options.

  1. You can friend me on Facebook, where I share all my new articles.
  2. You can sign up for my newsletter

Either way, I hope you’ve enjoyed my articles and I hope I haven’t lost you as a reader!

Cheers!

P.S. I have an instagram now! Follow me @mortonfitness

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Turning Your Excuses Into Progress

Excuses aren’t helpful. Agreed? Good.

Moving on.

More important are the reasons we feel inclined to make an excuse.

An excuse is used as a justification for a mistake or imperfection. Excuses seek to lessen blame or judgement.

Considering how fucking judgy the fitness world can be, no wonder it’s riddled with excuses. We hate feeling judged!

If we think we’re going to be judged, an excuse is a rational defense mechanism. We all make excuses for our imperfections, so there will be no high horses allowed.

get-off-your-high-horse

I don’t fault people for making excuses. That said, if we own the fuck out of our imperfections, we will nurture a greater capacity for growth and behavior change.

The excuses we make to ourselves hold us back the most.

Excuses prevent us from being honest with ourselves.

Self talk matters. When we make excuses, we shirk responsibility.

The missing factor here is acceptance.

We can’t fix our mistakes if we don’t accept the fact that we made them. To move forward we need to be brutally honest.

Excuses are sustain talk– they reinforce our internal status quo.

Taking responsibility and really owning our shit is hard, but it’s challenge worth undertaking.

Reasons, on the other hand, are an analysis. Reasons seek to objectively explain a series of events.

The search for reasons implies acceptance, mindfulness, and assessment. All of which are necessary to overcome our barriers, rather than continue to bash our faces against them.

So how do we turn excuses into reasons?

Build a habit of mindfulness around excuses.

Be on the lookout for excuses. When you notice one, dive into the fear shower and seek out the reasons you made that excuse.

You’re trigger for practicing this habit is guilt. Feelings of guilt usually precede excuses.

If you notice something else that would serve as a more consistent, obvious trigger then by all means use that.

We all have different relationships with food and exercise. I don’t mean to paint this issue as being black and white. My aim is simply to provide a starting point for exploring this relationship.

When you’re trigger happens, tell yourself out loud, “It’s OK”, ideally in the mirror. Next, try to objectively tease out the reasons for the decision in question. A journal where you reflect on your fitness journey can work wonders here.

Note that feelings (guilt, sadness, stress etc) can be objective reasons.

Objective simply means honest. Objective doesn’t mean denying your feelings. It’s actually the opposite. Objectivity means fully embracing and accepting that, “This is how I feel”.

torn

Be brutally honest. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, as long as it’s honest.

“I was tired and didn’t feel like it” is honest. “It’s OK because I went for a run today” isn’t.

If we can remove moral attachment to foods we can lessen food guilt and the ensuing excuses that stand in the way of our fat loss goals.

Another way to combat food guilt and excuses is to join a crew of people you know won’t judge you because they are experiencing the same struggles.

A culture built around growth and acceptance might be the best way conquer this. And I’m not just saying that because I want you to join the Tribe of Badassery Coaching Group. I promise 🙂

 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook “Insanity Free Loss”

 

You’re Not a Car

Our species has learned and adapted to do things no other earthlings can.

 

Yet we look at ourselves like we’re a damn Ford–a machine meant to do one task. A machine that, when functioning well, does as it’s directed. A car has a very clear definition of how it’s meant to operate and how to make it operate as such.

 

That’s not us.

 

We tend to treat ourselves like a used Festiva. This Festiva needs repairs. This Festiva needs fixing. What happens when you fix up a Festiva so that it’s running properly?

 

It’s still a fucking Festiva.

festiva

We’re still not happy with it.

 

The same happens when we look in the mirror and see nothing but things that need fixing.

 

A human is not so simple in intellect that we can turn a wrench a few times and be happy with ourselves. It takes more than that.

 

Oddly enough, to fix ourselves we need to realize we aren’t broken. In an ironic twist of fate, we cannot change ourselves until we accept ourselves as we are.

 

That means removing judgement and guilt and the “I’m broken” mentality from our psyche.

 

We don’t treat people well when we’re pissed at them. The same applies to how we treat ourselves. We don’t treat ourselves as well when we harbor negative feelings about ourselves.

 

And ya know, just because your arms aren’t as toned as you’d like yet doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Just sayin’.

 

To reiterate, we need to accept ourselves as we are before we can change. We can want to change and grow without it coming from a place of self loathing.

 

Loving oneself(not like that you pervert!) isn’t easy in today’s world. There are, however, some simple and actionable things we can do to get the ball rolling. Given how complex and individual this journey to self love is, today I will leave you with only 2 simple habit ideas you can start right now.

 

Habit idea # 1: When I look in the mirror I will say “I am not broken” out loud. Then I will say it again until I start to believe it.

 

Habit Idea # 2: Whenever I look in the mirror and I will find something I like about my body.

 

P.S.And while I’m on the topic, ya know what really grinds my gears? When people say we should treat ourselves like a Ferrari. For one, a Ferrari is a shit car. They’re meant to drive around slowly in cities and look like they’re designed for performance. Two, we’re not a sports car of any kind. Food is fuel. Sure. We die without it. However, we’re much more nuanced and intricate than a bright red midlife crisis. We have the ability, not only to change and grow, but to decide what fuel we want to consume and why. Fuel is meant to serve one function in a car. With us, fuel has many functions. One time I ate a sweet potato and a salad for Thanksgiving. That meal only sounds absurdly shitty because of Thanksgiving. And while I have some huge beefs with the holiday’s history, not partaking in celebrating a family tradition was unpleasant.i.e. food has huge cultural significance. Oh yeah and french fries taste brilliant. Although not the best fuel for my engine, I’ll be damned if I don’t have some every once in a  while.

I’m A Fool

A damned fool.

Facebook just reminded me of this, and I’m pretty embarrassed about it.

Here’s what happened. Facebook does this thing now where it shows you things you posted years ago, whether you want it to or not. So 3 years ago I shared an article that spoke of the terrible evils of sugar. The piece essentially claimed that sugar caused all of the world’s problems from global warming to Donald Trump. And here’s the kicker. My caption: Wow, so sugar is apparently as addictive as cocaine.

picard facepalm

This is the type of fear mongering that I rail against today. While I’m damn embarrassed about this, it’s a nice little reminder not to be pompous about anything, because there’s a good chance I’m wrong(except about Donald Trump, if he becomes president I’m getting my ass to Mars).

My embarrassment stems from fear. My biggest fear as a coach is doing harm, that I’m not actually helping and that I’m making things worse. When I saw what I had posted 3 years ago, a knot manifested itself in my stomach. Perpetuating such nonsense is surely detrimental to helping folks build a healthy relationship with food. Ugh.

So what’s the point Jeff? You’re confessing your sins blah blah blah…get on with it!

Here’s the point!

Being an inexperienced fool is part of learning ANYTHING. And that’s completely Ok. Being wrong and screwing up is part of the process, it’s inevitable and necessary. And of equal importance, admitting when you’re wrong is how you get better.

And I can logically come to terms with this, but that doesn’t mean that I like being reminded of how bad I used to be at my job. Thanks Facebook.

Looking back and seeing where we’ve made mistakes means we’ve moved forward. That’s what’s important–forward movement. So long as we keep moving forward, we know we’ll get to where we want to go. Admitting when we’re wrong may feel extremely uncomfortable, but doing so is a crucial act of mindfulness that will help you build forward momentum and continue to get better.

Weekly Fitness Reads:11/30/15

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/healthy-habits-youre-already-doing

I love this. Saying the we need to change our behaviors to get results can be somewhat misleading. Yes, somethings will need to change but that doesn’t mean we need to change everything. Often times this change just means doing more of the things we are already doing. Most people eat some sort of colorful plant at some point, so that means we don’t need to completely flip around are eating habits, just that we need to increase the frequency of this one behavior that we are already doing.

http://tonygentilcore.com/2015/11/5-mobility-exercises-youve-probably-never-done-but-should/

Dean knows his shit. And he has a new product that I’m pretty damn excited to try out. Mobility has been gaining some traction in the fitness world, and for good reason. However, the purpose and concepts of mobility are often misunderstood and misapplied. This piece not only gives some great drills but also provides information on proper application and usage.

http://seanarmstrongfitness.co.uk/2015/11/26/get-food-diet/

I thought this was a pretty good explanation of how satiety and calories work, as well as how to balance them. It’s an important concept for sure. It’s OK, and I would argue necessary, to be full after most meals.  Leaving a meal satisfied means we don’t end up getting hangry and eating a tub of Phish Food when the new season of House of Cards comes out. Not that there is anything wrong with doing that(that’s probably exactly what I’ll do when the time comes). However, doing that too often can be counterproductive for weight loss goals. 

Weekly Fitness Reads: 11/23/15

http://www.losestubbornfat.com/thanksgiving-makes-fat-act-like-sky-falling/

Thanksgiving is just around the corner so it seems fitting that I share an article about dealing with Thanksgiving and weight loss. Around this time of year a ton of articles about how to stay on plan during the holidays, discussing ways to not stuff your face with as much delicious mashed potatoes and turkey. In light of this, the approach Josh takes here is refreshing.

http://anymanfitness.com/what-should-you-do-if-youre-not-naturally-lean/

As someone who has always been “naturally lean”(read:scrawny), I found this read pretty interesting. Anything that provides information from a different perspective is beneficial in my opinion. While I can’t vouch for these strategies as I’ve personally never tried them, they intuitively make sense and the author seems to know what he’s talking about.

https://gokaleo.com/2015/11/20/cognitive-dissonance-or-how-people-convince-themselves-that-dude-didnt-lose-weight-eating-mcdonalds/

A little bit ago, I guy did a little experiment where he ate nothing but McDonald’s while maintaining a caloric deficit. Naturally, dude lost weight and naturally, the internet threw a shitfit. This article explains said shitfit.

Is It Worth It?

“Sonofa%*^%^$^S$&*Balls*(&^(%Cranberry&%*^($!!!!”

These were the words that escaped my lips ever so gently as an excruciating pain ripped through my ankle. I cautiously glanced at my foot. My ankle looked like an anaconda that hadn’t fully digested yesterday’s brunch of sautéed capybara .

Clutching my leg and attempting to gather my thoughts, I surveyed the flat, open farmland, which was quite beautiful at that time of day actually. My mind was elsewhere though. I was slightly more concerned with the large grapefruit that had blossomed in my foot.

My house was at least good hundred yards away, and the dry, flakey dirt was riddled with gopher holes. I looked up at the roof towering above my curled up frame. Doing my best to avoid the ubiquitous gopher holes, I grabbed my skateboard and hobbled away using my board as a cane. It didn’t work that well, but it was better than nothing I suppose.

Ow.Step.Ow.Step.Ow.Step.Ow.Step.Ow.Fuck.Ow.Step.Ow…etc.

Half an hour later I made it to the door of my house. When my sister saw me clumsily limping into the air conditioned refuge of my house, she gave a tremendous sigh, “What the hell did you do?”

“Ah, nothing it’s fine, just a sprain”.

scratch

My thinking at the time.

It wasn’t a sprain. I didn’t know it yet but that shiz was broken.

I had to get surgery. It was balls.

I spent a lot of time that summer getting sighed at. Many shook their heads in my general direction. Here’s the thing though:

I regret nothing. NOTHING!

regret

My thinking now.

Well sure, I regret breaking my ankle. But I don’t regret the attempt at skateboarding off that roof. I don’t regret taking the risk. I was fully aware of the potential repercussions of this dangerous hobby of mine. I wasn’t jumping off the roof expecting to land in the soft embrace of fluffy clouds. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been pretty sweet if I could have Gandalfed off the roof, but I knew that was wishful thinking.

There were plenty of attempts where I DIDN’T break my ankle. In fact, there were significantly more attempts where my ankle didn’t break than did. The outcome of that final attempt was less than desireable, but I still don’t regret it, even after being chided by every single nurse in Tracy General Hospital. If I would have succeeded(which I actually did the day prior, I’ll have you know) I probably wouldn’t have received the same amount of flack. That’s kind of the nature of risk taking– sometimes you get wrecked and end up spending an entire summer playing Banjo-Kazooie on the couch(which was actually pretty sweet) waiting for your ankle to heal so you can jump off more shit, that’s why it’s a risk.

banjo kazooie

At the time, jumping off the roof was worth the potential pride and satisfaction I would incur if I rolled away. The feeling of conquering my fear was worth it. And no, I’m not recommending jumping off the roof. It’s important to take risks, but we must be fully aware of whether or not the potential risk is worth the potential reward for us.

People who don’t take risks, don’t achieve much. Fear of failure, ridicule, or even success holds us back. That’s just how it works. Fear is the mind killer.

That said, when you break your ankle, people will give you shit. Hell, people will give you shit when you succeed. The only way to not have people give you shit is to be spectacularly ordinary. And who the hell wants that?

Anyways, I digress. I want to talk about analyzing the risks and rewards of our fitness attempts.

Answering the question from last week’s post, “Just because I can do something, should I?” entails analyzing not only risks and rewards, but how our priorities and values line up with said risks and rewards.

Looking at our goals is a good starting point. Once we have clear goals it becomes easier to weigh the risks and rewards. Because no matter what we do there is a risk. Always. It might not be the risk of a broken bone, but maybe a missed opportunity. By attempting to take no risks at all, I am risking stagnation. That said some risks are unnecessary. For example, it’s unnecessary to take every set of squats to failure if the goal is to get stronger.

Here some questions that can help clarify what we are doing, why, and if it’s really what we want to be doing:

What are my goals that I am trying to achieve with this strength training program? Then rank these goals in order of importance to you.

Why are these goals important to me? Write down every single reason why each goal is important to you. Every. Single. Reason. All of them. Dig deep into this. Like your trying to evolve your Diglett into a Dugtrio.

dugtrio

What are the potential benefits? What is the likelihood of the these benefits if I continue doing what I’m doing?

What are the risks? What is the likelihood of these risks?

Are the risks worth the potential benefits?

Is there a way that I can still reap the benefits while minimizing the risk? i.e. eliminating unnecessary risks?

Am I acting in concordance with my values? With the things that are important to me?

The question, “Is it worth it?”, doesn’t have an objective answer. Only the individual can decide this for themselves.

So now, after answering the questions listed above, I ask you this:

Would you still jump off the roof?